Elizabeth Hainen has won international attention as one of today’s foremost virtuoso harpists. Sought after as a soloist and chamber musician, she has been hailed by critics on both sides of the Atlantic for her high artistry and unique sound. Comments from the press include:
“Harpist Elizabeth Hainen addresses the cadenzas in each movement with unusual presence, releasing showers of melody with silky transparency.” (The Washington Post)
“Elizabeth Hainen presented a technically impressive performance.” (The Jerusalem Post, Israel)
As both soloist and recitalist, Hainen has performed in distinguished concert halls on three continents, including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Cultural Foundation of Spain in Madrid, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and the Tel Aviv Art Museum in Israel.
Twice in 1996 and once in 1998 she has been featured as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Other orchestras with which she has appeared as soloist include the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata Orchestra (Indiana), the Kennedy Center Orchestra, the Mozart Society of Philadelphia, the Northwest Sinfonietta (Seattle) and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Hainen has also made guest soloist appearances with the Paris Opera Ballet and has collaborated with the Dance Theater of Harlem in the choreography of Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto. Hainen was featured as soloist at the Sixth World Harp Congress in Seattle, and was the guest artist for the opening recital at the Tokyo Soka International Harp Festival. Recipient of a number of awards, her honours include being winner of the Chicago Symphony Civic Orchestra competition in 1990, Silver Medalist at the USA International Harp Competition in 1989, where she was also awarded the Orrego-Salas prize for the best performance of an American work, and Winner of the American String Teachers Association Competition in 1987.
Hainen is an active advocate of the expansion of her instrument’s repertoire and has already given several world première performances, including the première recording of a work by Jan Kryzwicki, to be released in the autumn of 1999. Regularly playing with the Network for New Music, her recent chamber music commitments have included performances at The Grand Tetons Music Festival, June in Buffalo, the Cape May Music Festival, the New World Symphony, and the Waterloo Music Festival.
During the 1998–1999 season, Hainen made her solo debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Orchestra Hall, in Washington D.C. under Wolfgang Sawallisch. She was also heard in recital in East Germany and the Czech Republic at the Sächsisch Böhmisches Musik Festival. Her 1999–2000 season includes a solo debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, a world premiere recording of a work by Pulitzer Prize Winner Bernard Rands, and solo appearances with the Cincinnati Chamber Symphony. Hainen will also collaborate with Peter Schickele for the Academy of Music Ballroom Series and participate at the Marlboro Music Festival.
Elizabeth Hainen joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as Principal Harp in June 1994 after serving as Principal Harp of the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. She has performed, toured and recorded with many other orchestras, including the Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis and New York Philharmonic Orchestras.
Born in Toledo, Ohio of musician parents, Hainen showed exceptional musical talent at the age of four when she began studies on violin and piano before turning to the harp at the age of ten. Only four years later, she debuted as a concerto soloist with the Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra in Ohio. Her extraordinary progress brought her to her mentor and teacher, Susann McDonald, at the Indiana University School of Music where she was awarded the prestigious “Performance Certificate” in 1987, and two degrees in performance by 1991. Hainen has frequently been heard by radio audiences around the world on the National Public Radio, WQXR Radio in New York City, the BBC in England and the NHK in Japan. Her television appearances include her being highlighted nationally on CBS, on WNBC in New York City and on Indiana Public Television, as well as being the focus of a documentary, “Striving for Excellence,” on Ohio Public Television.
Elizabeth Hainen plays a Lyon and Healy 1990 gold-gilded concert grand harp and a 1995 Lyon and Healy “Salzedo” harp.